SINGAPORE, 13 May 2020

To Our Industry Community,

For the first time in nearly nine years, the Edison lightbulb above the entrance at 28 HongKong Street in Singapore is dark. That simple, welcoming symbol of hospitality will stay dark until at least 1 June, when Singapore’s “circuit breaker” lockdown is tentatively scheduled to be lifted.

28 HongKong Street, the cocktail bar where the Proof & Company journey started in 2011

These past 12 weeks have been the most difficult that all of us at Proof & Company have seen in our lifetimes in the hospitality business. COVID-19 has been devastating for the bar, restaurant and hotel industry in Asia Pacific. It has brought about a level of stress regarding the present and uncertainty about the future that can be difficult to grasp. Many of the clients who have supported us for years are hurting even more than we are.

This pandemic has forced all of us to make painful decisions. At Proof & Company, no decisions have been more painful than parting ways with beloved team members who had such bright futures with us. Through it all, our approach to the crisis has been straightforward: to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our team, our clients, our brand partners and our shared future.

And yet we count ourselves amongst the fortunate. Something extraordinary has emerged from this crisis in recent weeks: an unprecedented sense of togetherness. All across the region, the industry is coming together in remarkable and unexpected ways. If we are all lucky, these changes will strengthen our industry for years to come.

To our team, the sacrifices we are making together are difficult, but they are making the difference. To our warehousing and delivery teams, who have worked through the lockdowns across the region, thank you. You are part of an army of essential workers who are keeping economies on life support. Your continued belief in our mission, your dedication to our clients and your positive spirit inspire us.

To our clients, the bars, restaurants, hotels, wholesalers and retailers of Asia Pacific, you are the frontline in this crisis and you are being hit the hardest. As you pivot to new business models overnight, you are sharing your learnings with peers and competitors alike. Look up Hope + Sesame in Guangzhou, China and their excellent online COVID recovery content. You won’t regret it. On our side, we are doing everything we can to be there for you – by extending credit terms, by helping you launch bottled cocktail programs, and by supporting local COVID-19 industry relief initiatives like #lovetowuhan. Is there more we can do to help? Please reach out.

To our global bar family, your perseverance, creativity and tireless energy in the face of historic adversity inspire us every day. Your camaraderie is of benefit to us all. Nearly 2,000 of you have signed up for our complimentary COVID-19 JERRY beverage learning, looking to sharpen skills and knowledge during the lockdowns so you can take even better care of guests when the good times return. We cannot wait to see you over the bar when they do.

To our brand partners, almost without exception, you have asked a simple question, “How can we help?” You have extended payment terms, air freighted shipments to avoid stock outs, and generally had our collective backs. Your support ensures that we can serve our clients without interruption, as they navigate this difficult period. We will not forget it. We are proud to represent you.

To our regional governments, your COVID-19 support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, such as the JobKeeper program in Australia, is giving everyone a fighting chance – and saving countless jobs. We are fortunate to have such capable, action-oriented government leadership. Asia Pacific was hit first, and hit hard, but it will do its part to help lead the world out of this crisis.

To our shareholders, you have always believed in the Proof & Company vision. Your steadfast support, particularly in a crisis of this scale, puts us in a stronger position to help our teams, our clients and our hospitality communities.

This togetherness translates into resilience. As hospitality venues in China, Hong Kong and, soon, New Zealand reopen, this resilience is on full display. It gives us all hope.

A busy service at 28 HongKong Street in happier times

We now have every confidence that we – as a community, as an industry, and as a company – will beat COVID-19. Yes, the post-COVID world will be different. Hospitality will be different, possibly for a long time to come. The road back will take time, and there will no doubt be setbacks along the way. Like you, we are using this time to reflect, to absorb the lessons we are being taught, and to adapt to the new normal that will follow.

More than anything, we are grateful to be a part of this community. It may be amongst the hardest hit, but it is also the most unified. The light outside 28 HongKong Street will most certainly come back on in due time.

When it does, let’s come back stronger, together.

Spencer Forhart Chairman  I   Paul Gabie  Chief  Executive Officer